Comics on Tour This Spring And Summer

by Noiz 17. April 2015 12:03

Comics on Tour This Spring And Summer

Spring and summer are lousy for epic concert tours.  The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Eagles, and Van Halen are all touring in 2015.  That’s a lot of great live music, but if you need a break from holding up your lighter and shouting “Freebird” you should check out a comedy show.  During our aforementioned time span, there will be a bunch of very funny people playing the continent’s biggest rooms.

Warning:
Seeing anyone of the following names is guaranteed to leave you in stitches. 

Daniel Tosh
This is how you announce a tour: 
On your successful and popular television program you blast the New England Patriots—I mean really blast them.  You tear into them without mercy.  Then at the end of your triad you announce a 16-city tour of the northeast corner of the United States.  That takes some guts.  Daniel Tosh’s “The Great Nor’Easter Tour of 2015” kicks off June 9 in Orono, Maine and ends June 27 in Brooklyn, New York.  Brooklyn doesn’t care about Tosh’s anti-Patriots slant but Worcester, Nantucket, and Boston sure do.

Gabriel Iglesias
It should come as no surprise that Gabriel Iglesias is on the road.  After all, he’s always on the road.  What’s unique about some of his upcoming spring dates is their location.  Fluffy is performing in Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway—it’s not called a “world tour” for nothing.   Sandwiching those European dates are performances in Albuquerque, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C.

Kathy Griffin
The ultimate D-lister is also one of the world’s funniest stand-up comedians.  You can catch her hilarious act this spring and summer in cities like Springfield, Virginia Beach, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and Billings.  Can you imagine Griffin and her foul mouth performing in Montana?  I can’t.  That should be one wild (and very weird) show. 

Kevin Hart
Is there a bigger comic in the world right now then Kevin Hart? 

Taking time out from his successful music career, Hart is hitting the road this spring and summer for his “What Now Tour.”  His trek began April 9 in San Antonio and ends Aug. 30 in Philadelphia.  In between, the diminutive funny man will visit Orlando, Las Vegas, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston.  Hart sold out two shows at Madison Square Garden and became the first comedian EVER to headline a show at an NFL stadium.  That Aug. 30th show in Philadelphia is at Lincoln Financial Field.  That’s the home of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mike Epps
There’s currently a lot to talk about when it comes to Mike Epps: 

He’s playing Richard Pryor in an upcoming biographical movie.  He’s been cast as Uncle Buck in a new television pilot of the same name.  He’s hosting That’s Racist with Mike Epps, a ten-episode series airing on AOL.  He recently posted a controversial picture on Instagram of a black man about to whip three shirtless white men in a cotton field.  And he criticized Kevin Hart for stealing jokes and caring too much about marketing.

With all that going on we might forget that Mike Epps is also a legendary stand-up comedian.  This spring and summer, Epps is participating in two different comedy tours.  His own, “Mike Epps: The Real Deal Tour,” will visit Bloomington, Grand Prairie, Toledo, Des Moines, and Denver.  He’s also on the marquee of the “Black and Brown Comedy Get Down” tour.  That trek includes sets from Cedric “The Entertainer,” Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas is to comics what New York City is to musicians.  If you plan your trip to Las Vegas just right this spring and/or summer you’ll be able to catch a big time joke teller.  For example, Jeff Dunham and his dummies have a residency show at Planet Hollywood.  Check his Web site for exact dates; he does not perform on Monday or Tuesday.  “Roastmaster General” Jeffery Ross will tickle the audience at the House of Blues on May 15.  Whitney Cummings is booked at The Venetian on May 22 and May 23. 

Other Comics
A bunch of other comics are either winding down tours or their handful of dates are scattered over several months.  For example, Craig Ferguson will be in Las Vegas on May 23 and then half a dozen cities in the Midwest and Ontario, Canada.  Amy Schumer is currently finishing her red hot “Back Door Tour.”  It wraps May 24 in New Orleans.  Jerry Seinfeld has several shows scheduled between May and August.  That includes a May 16 performance at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

Theresa Caputo
Technically, Theresa Caputo isn’t a comedian.  She’s a medium—the “Long Island Medium” to be exact.  In other words, she talks to the dead.  I’ve included her for two reasons.  One, she’s playing relatively small venues.  That means seeing her live will be fairly intimate.  Two, she’s been widely debunked by a number of sources; so, she’s not a very good medium.  This all comes together to create a couple hours of unintentional comedy.  Sitting in the back, with a like-minded friend or two, you can crack wise as Caputo chews the fat with the spirit world.  Hilarious. 

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Van Halen Concerts Suck According To Sammy Hagar

by Noiz 9. April 2015 18:31

Van Halen Concerts Suck According To Sammy Hagar

If you believe Sammy Hagar, every upcoming Van Halen concert will occur after a too-long of a bus ride or a night with a faulty thermostat. 

On July 5, the 2015 Van Halen tour of North America gets underway in Seattle, Washington at the White River Amphitheatre.  Their tour concludes Oct. 2 at the Hollywood Bowl. 

The band has scheduled 39 dates in a route that will have Van Halen crisscrossing the continent.

On July 20, look for Van Halen at Red Rocks. 

On August 7, they’ll be in Toronto for a show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. 

Washington D.C. welcomes the band to Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 29. 

Van Halen begins their return westward on Aug. 21 with a performance in Austin—it’s their first of three shows in Texas. 

They San Diego on Sept. 30.

In case you’re wondering, this tour, like the last, will feature David Lee Roth on vocals.  For most bands, the lead singer is usually the lone constant, but with Van Halen you never know.

Also on board are the usually subjects of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen.  Bass duties will once again fall to Eddie’s son, and Alex’s nephew, Wolfgang.

Van Halen is not touring to support a new studio album but a live one.

The live album dropped March 31 and is called Tokyo Dome Live In Concert.  It was recorded June 21, 2013 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.  The show was part of their 2012-2013 “A Different Kind of Truth Tour.”

It’s Van Halen’s second live album overall and amazingly their first with Roth.

Eddie wanted to do something Van Halen-ish but realized a studio album was out of the question–both his son and Roth were off doing their own things.

He wanted to remix and release some demos but he couldn’t find the original tapes.  They’ve slipped into rock’s irretrievable dustbin.

Eddie thought about doing something with recordings from the band’s “club days,” but the recording quality made such a project problematic.

He finally decided to produce a live record.

Back when musicians walked uphill in the snow, both ways, to the studio, to make a live record you needed a lot of equipment, a lot of manpower, and a lot of set-up time.  Nowadays, you just hook Pro Tools to the console and click record.  Thanks to this digital technology, Van Halen has recorded hundreds of their shows.

While this massive catalog is priceless to Van Halen fans, it’s a giant time-suck for anyone tasked to listen to them all and find the best cuts for an album.

To streamline the process, the band asked Dave to pick one Van Halen concert. 

“Alex, Wolfgang, and I were pretty consistent every night.  For a singer it’s more difficult.  Because if the bus ride is too long, or you slept with the air conditioner on or the heater on and your throat is [messed] up, [it can change one’s voice].” — Eddie Van Halen

Dave suggested the band use their Tokyo Dome show.  His decision was supported by the fact that there was no opening act that night and the band played longer than usual—nearly two hours.

Bob Clearmountain mixed the album and it contains 25 tracks.

The Las Vegas Review Journal put flame to fuse when they asked former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar what he thought of the live album:

“They’ve got some pretty rough vocals… Standing back, I’m just going, ‘What the (expletive) are these guys thinking?’”

That’s some caustic criticism especially considering Roth selected the recording thus suggesting that he picked a night when he sounded the best.

“I’m trying to tread lightly on the whole thing.  Every time they do something, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, can these guys do anything worse to their reputation and to the level of the music of the band?’”

That’s damning criticism but perhaps Hagar’s haranguing is nothing more than the by-product of bitterness and grudges.  Meanwhile, Frank Hannon, guitarist for Tesla, who has no axe to grind with the Van Halens, thinks a bit differently.

"If you are a fan of truly 'live' albums, as I am, and have stated, this album rules!”

Hannon gushes about Eddie’s “guitar tones” but does issue a cryptic review of Roth’s role.  He echoes Hagar’s sentiment although with far less vitriol…

“As for Dave, well, he's included a six-page book with lyrics to read the words he don't sing… and to hear him tell of the spotlight operator in 'Ice Cream Man' is priceless, not to mention all the Japanese BS he rambles.”

We can extrapolate from Hagar’s and Hannon’s observations that Roth is riding the bus too much and/or needs to fix the environmental controls of his sleeping quarters.  Then again, who wouldn’t be the weakest link in a band with three Van Halens?

Van Halen will be touring with Kenny Wayne Shepard. 

New Album
Eddie believes that after the band’s upcoming tour they’ll assemble in the studio to cut another album.   The guitarist says the band has enough material, it’s just a matter of getting everyone together. 

Van Halen’s last studio album, A Different Kind of Truth, dropped in February of 2012.

In the meantime, enjoy remastered reissues of the band’s classic albums Van Halen and 1984.  Those reissues also dropped on the last day of March.  The rest of Van Halen’s catalog with Roth at the helm will also be remastered and reissued.  Look for that batch to come out later this spring.

Thanks to Joe Bielawa for the photo.

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Smashing Pumpkins End Times Are Nigh Thanks To Willy Corgan

by Noiz 6. April 2015 13:18

Smashing Pumpkins End Times Are Nigh Thanks To Willy Corgan

“The End Times” is coming.

Not the actual “end times” with the trumpets, the sky on fire, and the souls of the dead rising to be judged.

I’m talking about “The End Times Tour” with Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson.  This trek will be just like the aforementioned apocalyptic end of times only without the trumpets—these are alternative bands they don’t use horns!

The tour begins July 7 in Concord, California at the Concord Pavilion and it runs out of time on Aug. 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Riverbend Music Center.

Highlights of this Smashing Pumpkins tour include concerts in Las Vegas (July 10), Red Rocks Amphitheatre (July 13), Boston (July 28), and Chicago (Aug. 7).  There are 23 dates in all.

The Pumpkins are touring to support their eighth studio opus, Monuments To An Elegy.  Manson is pushing his latest release, The Pale Emperor.  Monuments dropped in December and Emperor hit streets the following month.

This joint-tour apparently squashes any beef Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan had with Manson.   During an interview with Larry King, Manson said Corgan looks like “Charlie Brown.”

Bygones.

Of course, if tour mates had to be besties then there would be no live music industry.  Certainly, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, The Police, and any band with Neil Young (just to name a few) wouldn’t have toured.

The better question to ask is do fans have to like Billy Corgan—sorry, William Corgan—to attend a Smashing Pumpkins concert?

During a March 17 concert in Peru, fans sang: “Happy birthday, dear Billy.”  The singer-songwriter corrected the throng by saying: “My name is William.”  If that doesn’t tip the pretentious scale I don’t know what does.  If that was a real birthday party I would have left before the next verse.

Leave it to Corgan.  Only he can tour with Marilyn Manson, a singer named after a serial killer, and be the most disliked name on the marquee. 

Although his music is easy to appreciate, Willy Corgan is difficult to adore. 

He’s the type of guy who’d gladly go with you to a tavern but complain because they don’t have organic beer or C.W. McCall on the jukebox.  Then to rub it in your face, he can write a really good song…

…or at least he used to write really good songs. 

Can anyone name a Smashing Pumpkins song from the 2000s? 

I didn’t think so.

That’s partly why Willy has gone on record by saying “the future of the Smashing Pumpkins is kinda murky.  I’ve only committed to the idea of The Smashing Pumpkins through, pretty much, to the end of this year.  After that I’m gonna see how it goes.”

Willy’s short-term commitment to the Pumpkins is rooted in the fact that fans aren’t into the bands’ recent releases.  It should be stated that William Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins are one and the same thing—the Pumpkins are nothing more than a Corgan solo project.

“I’m the type of artist that I don’t wanna sort of exist in something that is sort of fading like an iceberg.”  — William Corgan

That should ingratiate Willy to us.  We should feel sorry for the artist.  He works hard to explore new musical landscapes but all fans care about is the stuff he wrote and recorded in the 1990s.

As Tim Karan wrote: “Corgan wants fans at shows to stop yelling out, ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings!’ and start yelling, ‘Being Beige!’”

Wanting fans to covet your most recent music is perfectly acceptable; giving fans an ultimatum to start caring more about current releases or you’ll go away is not.  And that’s what Willy is doing.

It’s okay for Corgan to want fans to want to hear tracks from Oceania or Monuments to an Elegy, but he should understand that it’s also okay for fans to want to hear tracks from Siamese Dream and Adore.

With a few exceptions, Corgan’s musical journey is the norm.  The artist has their heyday—on the charts, with critics, and at award shows—then they settle down to make quality music for their core base of adherents. 

If anything, Corgan has strayed away from the norm in the wrong way.  A lot of his post-2000 work has been excoriated by fans and critics.  He hasn’t settled into his genius but veered into ostentatious mediocrity.  Most of the music he’s made in the 21st century can only be enjoyed by his mother. 

All artists want to be relevant all the time, but few are ever relevant for even a short period of time.  Corgan is fortunate.  He was relevant in the 1990s.  He sold 20 million albums during that time.  There are countless bands that would kill for that kind of success.

After Kurt Cobain, Corgan is widely regarded as the era’s top scribe—“Everyone else was a distant third.”  Sure, that’s Corgan’s own opinion (and quote), but his contributions to rock and alternative music is undeniable. 

Willy should embrace this legacy and take pride in it.  The Pumpkins’ upcoming tour, their first major outing since the release of Monuments to an Elegy, should be a victory lap—as well as all subsequent treks.  He should play “Cherub Rock,” “Disarm,” and “Perfect” to celebrate Smashing Pumpkins not to bury them. 

Nostalgia isn’t always a bad thing.

Ultimately, William Corgan is better when he’s making music as Billy Corgan.  The guy can write a good alternative rock song.  William Corgan writes an average-at-best conceptual album.

So, get your Smashing Pumpkins tickets and toss Willy a bone by yelling for “Drum + Fife” while secretively pining for “Today” or “1979.”  If Corgan can’t come to grips with his place in music then we’ll do it for him.  That’s the least we can do for the guy who made Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

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Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers Unfairly Judged By Band’s Murderous Past

by Noiz 3. April 2015 08:34

Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers Unfairly Judged By Band’s Murderous Past

This spring, two big Rolling Stones events are happening. 

On May 24, the world’s greatest rock and roll band is kicking off a 15-city tour of North America.  The trek begins with a Rolling Stones concert in San Diego at Petco Park.  The tour’s final date is July 15.  On that day look for the Rolling Stones in Quebec for a show at Le Festival D’Été de Québec. 

Two days later the band is reissuing their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers.  The name of that opus is usually preceded by adjectives like “classic,” “iconic,” or “legendary.”  The reissued version will come in a variety of formats and contain a variety of Stones goodies.

The upcoming Rolling Stones tour is dubbed the “Zip Code Tour” in homage to Sticky Fingers.  The album’s original cover, one of the most famous in rock and roll history, contains a working zipper.

There’s some talk that the band will play Sticky Fingers in its entirety.

“Sticky Fingers has about five slow songs. I’m just worried that it might be problematic in stadiums.  Maybe we’d play it and everyone would say, ‘Great,’ but maybe they’ll get restless and start going to get drinks.” — Mick Jagger

Sticky Fingers contains 10 songs and is over 45 minutes long.  It was also originally released on vinyl making it something of an anachronism in today’s music clime. 

Below, Clickitticket tells you everything you need to know about the album.  If you remember buying it in a record store, stick around.  I’m sure you’ve forgotten a lot of Rolling Stones lore over the years.  If you have no idea what Sticky Fingers is, keep reading.  You’re about to be introduced to one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded.

Zipper
The cover of Sticky Fingers is one of the most memorable and controversial in rock and roll history.  It features a shot of a man’s crotch (from mid-thigh to just above the waist).  The man’s belt buckle and zipper actually worked.  When you unzipped and unbuckled the jeans you saw the model’s white briefs.

Unfortunately, my vinyl copy has long since lost those features (most of them have).  And unfortunately the album cover has gone the way of the dodo—CD covers are glorified brochures.  That’s too bad because the vinyl album cover was almost as important as the music it protected.  The album cover was a work of art that also gave you something to look at while listening to its content.

The Model
The controversy came because you can clearly see a large bulge made by the model’s penis.  Many thought the model was Mick Jagger.  It was not.  The identity of the man has not been revealed although Joe Dallesandro, an actor, says it’s him.

Andy Warhol
Dallesandro was also a “Warhol superstar.”  That’s a term used to describe people who were models and friends of artist Andy Warhol—creator of the term: “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."  Warhol conceived the album cover but did not take the photograph.  That was done by Billy Name (another “Warhol superstar”).  Craig Braun put the cover together.

Controversy
In 1971, the sartorial outline of a man’s penis was quite shocking (the cover was banned in Spain), but it wasn’t the only controversy the record caused.  Due to the way albums were shipped—stacked on top of one another—the zippers damaged the vinyl.  To minimize that damage, zippers were pulled half way down for shipping.

Lips and Tongue
Sticky Fingers was the first Rolling Stones album to use the famous tongue and lips logo.

Timeline
One song from Sticky Fingers was recorded during sessions of the band’s previous work, Let It Bleed (“Sister Morphine”).   During Sticky Fingers sessions, the band worked on material that would later be used on Exile on Main St., their greatest opus.

Sticky Fingers is also the band’s first release on their own label, Rolling Stones Records.

Mick Taylor/Brain Jones
Sticky Fingers is the first Rolling Stones album to feature guitarist Mick Taylor full time and the first to contain no contributions from Brain Jones.

Taylor left the Stones in December of 1974.  Jones, who was the driving force behind the band during its formative years, died in July of 1969. 

Critical Reception
Sticky Fingers, like most of the albums the Rolling Stones released after the 1960s, received a lot of these types of reviews: “It’s good but not by Rolling Stones standard.”

There’s a reason for this.  Sticky Fingers was the first album the Rolling Stones made after the tragedy of The Altamont Speedway Free Festival.  Four people died at that concert that was as violent as Woodstock was peaceful. 

One of those deaths, Meredith Hunter, occurred while the Stones were on stage.  Also, the Hells Angels (a biker gang) was hired to do security by Rolling Stones’ management (although some deny this allegation).  It was a Hells Angel who stabbed Hunter.

Regardless of who hired who, many blame the Stones for the violence and for creating an event that basically ended the era of the sixties.  A film about the concert didn’t help nor did the band’s lukewarm apologies afterwards.  None of the tracks on Sticky Fingers mentions, alludes to, or references the tragedy.

That’s why Stones albums from 1970 onward come with a caveat from critics—many blame them for Altamont.  Despite what these jaded critics claim, the Rolling Stones have been putting out one great (or at least very good) rock album after another for more than half a century.  They are, without a doubt, the greatest rock and roll band of all time. 

Music
Sticky Fingers contains the great tracks: “Brown Sugar,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Bitch,” and “Wild Horses.” 

Only “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” were released as singles.  They peaked at number one and twenty-eight respectively on Billboard’s Hot 100.  The other two songs mentioned in the previous paragraph have become staples on classic rock radio stations.  The album itself went straight to number one and has been certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA. 

By the way, those slow songs Jagger was talking about are “Wild Horses,” “You Gotta Move,” “I Got The Blues,” “Sister Morphine,” and “Moonlight Mile.”

Sticky Fingers is also the first Stones album to credit Jagger as a guitarist.

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